"As the organization grows, one thing that is most satisfying is the fact that our people have also grown organically with the organization. I see a lot of them, who needed words of advice in their early days in the organization now giving the same advice to their team members, which is the biggest reward for a leader."
- Mr. Ramesh C. Bawa, MD & CEO, IL&FS Financial Services (IFIN)

Recently, the Economic Times announced the list of "Most Promising Business Leaders of Asia" 2017. It is no surprise for IFINites to rejoice Mr. Ramesh C. Bawa's name in the list. The global footprints of IFIN are just about a decade old and the four international offices are positioning themselves in the markets thus far populated by seasoned players. While the Indian operations were already a niche in the industry to be recognized on a global platform is a time for celebration.

Talking about celebrations, the recently concluded I-STAR, IFIN's own R&R platform, in its seventh year, was an occasion cherished by one and all at IFIN. I-STAR was conceived literally on a white board in the year 2011, with an objective to create a platform to recognize and reward exemplary performance.

With non-monetary rewards at the core, upon proposing, the idea found support and endorsement from the IFIN Core Committee and Business Heads. While the monetary aspirations of the employees were met through the overall compensation philosophy and policy of the organization, the self-esteem and motivational needs of the employees were yet to be addressed. That's how the I-STAR came into being.

Quite similar to most companies the reward and recognition program culminates in an event involving all employees. At IFIN, winners across ten categories were celebrated and this encouraged the others to aspire for it. The "Nomination and Jury" methodology were introduced as the final selection was done based on meritocracy and excellence for individuals and teams. It's heartening to see that winning an I-STAR award is on the wish list of every employee and they endorse this moment as one of the most cherished ones during their stay at IFIN.

The spirit of celebrating excellence and exemplary performance is the main theme for I-STAR, the function every year has a central theme. This year the theme was "IFIN United" which transcends the culture of togetherness and camaraderie at IFIN. The event night was hosted in the land of celebration, Goa and saw the employees being immersed in the spirit of fun and frolic.

What better way of celebrating than getting employee to create an act of awe and stump! This year around thirty IFINites, joined hands and displayed the characteristic nuances of Goa through a choreographed Fashion show and stage acts. The act depicted the Goan culture from the times of the Greeks, Kadambas, and Portuguese to Goa being the international holiday destination. The act depicted the Goan way of life, the wines, casinos and the mesmerizing beaches. It was a wonderful sight watching bankers by the day, own the stage as professional performers and dazzle.

An organization who values diversity and inclusion does not limit these only to policies and procedures, but practices it in every aspect of the people practices. This was evident when Ms Kate Kwan, CEO of IGFSL Hong Kong, sang a song in Mandarin which was enjoyed by audience primarily Indian, with the translation of the song beaming on the screens there was cultural harmony at display. When the organization creates this harmony, the employees alsorespond and this was experienced as Ms Kwan reciprocated by singing a Hindi song, bedazzling the audience with her ability.

Bright talent at any age is appreciated by one and all, this was evident when a young guitarist in his early twenties, Rythm Shaw, played to the liking of an audience of diverse age group. The Ace Guitarist, played the specially created music piece synthectomy i.e. coming together of two or more forces to create magic.

Through the night, Rising Stars, Emerging Leaders, Standout Performers, Persistent Performers, Employee of the Quarter, Best Teams, and Employee of the Year were the categories celebrated for their exemplary contributions.

As they say that if you reverberate positive energy the universe sends back the same. So true! As IFIN commits itself to creating a platform of recognition, celebrating excellence and fostering bonhomie. IFIN's people practices have been gaining appreciation from industry & people that matter.

No wonder, that 2017 has been a year of receiving accolades for IFIN, the recent being 2nd runners up in Dale Carnegie Global Leadership Award 2017 for its advanced people development initiatives and its cutting-edge efforts towards L&D. The objective of this award was to celebrate organizations, which are ahead in human capital management and consider their people as important for the success of the organization. IFIN showcased Step Up, its Cohort Management Program, designed for preparing employees to take up higher order roles.

Earlier in the year, IFIN also bagged the winner award 'Leading practices' in Talent Management and 1st runner up in Leading Practices' in Employee Engagement in the PeopleFirst HR Excellence Awards, 2017. IFIN stood as a winner along with the other leading companies across diverse industries and sectors.

This journey to create exemplary people practices began in 2011, with steady progress, recognition came in 2015, when IFIN was recognized, as the Inspiring Workplace in the BFSI sector by Banking Frontiers, across the Financial Services domain in India.

Being an equal opportunity employer is not enough, living this philosophy in every aspect of the organization really make one to be an equal opportunity employer. It is as important to demonstrate this philosophy in treating employees internally and at IFIN this is a reality. No surprise then when the Core Committee of IFIN decided to confer one of the most cherished awards "The Business Leader of the Year" to the HR leader of the organization. At IFIN, the spirit of celebrating exemplary performance is embedded deeply in the culture and fostering equal opportunity to the deserving individual, its way to do things.

Authored by:
Sudakshina Bhattacharya
Executive Vice President & Head - Human Resources,
IL&FS Financial Services (IFIN)

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